Childhood Obesity: Prevention and Treatment

Analyzing the Problem of Childhood Obesity and its Consequences

Considering the fact that childhood obesity is a problem that has diverse aspects, it demands a careful analysis to come to a single conclusion about the most suitable methods of preventing and managing it. It should be mentioned that childhood obesity is a national epidemic that affects children not only physically but also mentally. Despite national-level efforts to reduce obesity incidence, it is a burden for the United States. In addition, rates of obesity increase depending on children’s age. Thus, 14.9% of kindergarten children are overweight and 12.4% are obese while among adolescents aged 14 this percentage is 17.0 and 20.8 correspondingly (Cunningham, Kramer, & Narayan, 2014).

One of the obesity-related issues that can have a serious mental impact on a child is bullying. Studies prove that obese children frequently suffer from bullying and victimization (Gordon, 2018). Thus, 44.4% of obese children suffer from name calling compared to 10.1% of children with normal weight who have similar experiences. Moreover, children with excessive weight frequently lack basic social skills and, therefore, do not have many friends (Gurnani, Birken, & Hamilton, 2015). Such isolation can lead to mental disorders such as depression. One more factor that needs attention is discovery of the risk groups for childhood obesity. For example, children in underserved communities are at higher risk of becoming overweight or obese due to the lack of opportunities to meet the recommended physical exercise guidelines (Wright, Newman, Giger, Norris, & Suro, 2013).

The Role of a School Nurse in Resolving the Problem of Childhood Obesity

Since the problem of childhood obesity is a complex one, it demands a complex approach that involves not only families and physicians as active participants. Considering the fact that children spend much time at school, educational institutions can also provide assistance in fighting obesity. Thus, school nurses have opportunities for suggesting productive changes in diet and physical activities for children every day. For example, school nurses can contribute to the regulation of obesity issues at the local level by monitoring and analyzing children’s body mass index as well as their eating habits. It is an important intervention because it allows identifying children who are gaining weight and prevent the development of obesity. Also, school nurses can involve the canteen manager and create a particular menu for children who are overweight or obese because nutrition is frequently decisive for addressing the obesity problem. Moreover, school nurses can act in cooperation with physical training teachers, which is expected to result in an individual plan of exercises to reduce the weight of obese children (Quelly, 2014). The mentioned interventions are expected to have a positive impact on obesity prevalence.

The Role of School in Developing Strategies Reducing the Risk of Obesity

School nurses and teachers of physical training are not the only people who can contribute to resolving the problem of childhood obesity. All other teachers within an educational institution have a potential to help overweight or obese children. School can be involved in creating strategies aimed at the elimination of obesity risk factors and implement interventions to reduce the BMI in children already suffering from obesity by the teamwork between professors and nurses. First of all, school is a separate community where children can feel safe in case appropriate environment is created and maintained. Therefore, a school should create an environment that promotes health and provides opportunities for keeping fit as well as healthy eating (Clarke, 2015). Also, it is necessary to remember that teamwork is more beneficial than single efforts. Consequently, collaboration within a school can bring more meaningful results. Finally, the assistance of nurses as well as professors can allow including valuable guidelines for fighting obesity in various aspects of the curriculum thus increasing the children’s awareness of the problem and teaching them how to manage or prevent it.

The Impact of Family on Resolving the Issue of Childhood Obesity

Even though children spend most of their time at school, its support alone is not enough to manage obesity successfully or prevent it. Thus, the family should be involved in the process of obesity management under the guidance of nurses to improve the outcomes of childhood obesity prevention. Frequently, parents are not aware of the seriousness of their child’s health problems. Consequently, communicating with school nurses can contribute to their realization of the problem severity (Bonde, Bentsen, & Hindhede, 2014). Also, nurses can inform about the risk factors for obesity that are often overlooked such as the lack of physical activity, excessive screen time, and reduced sleep duration (Laurson, Lee, Gentile, Walsh, & Eisenmann, 2018). Moreover, nurses can apply motivational interviewing to family members, which is aimed at preventing obesity among children and has a potential to reduce the development of the disease (Bonde et al., 2014). Finally, feedback from families is significant. Thus, parents can provide feedback to nurses, which can be used as a background for the most suitable prevention and treatment plan to address the problem of childhood obesity.

References

Bonde, A. H., Bentsen, P., & Hindhede, A. L. (2014). School nurses’ experiences with motivational interviewing for preventing childhood obesity. The Journal of School Nursing, 30(6), 448-455.

Clarke, J. L. (2015). Web.

Cunningham, S., Kramer, M., & Narayan, K. (2014). Incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 370(5), 403-411. Web.

Gordon, S. (2018). Verywell Family [Blog post]. Web.

Gurnani, M., Birken, C., & Hamilton, J. (2015). Childhood obesity. Pediatric Clinics of North America, 62(4), 821-840. Web.

Laurson, K., Lee, J., Gentile, D., Walsh, D., & Eisenmann, J. (2018). ISRN Obesity, 2014, 1-6. Web.

Quelly, S. (2014). Childhood obesity prevention: A review of school nurse perceptions and practices. Journal for Specialists in Pediatric Nursing, 19(3), 198-209. Web.

Wright, K., Newman Giger, J., Norris, K., & Suro, Z. (2013). Impact of a nurse-directed, coordinated school health program to enhance physical activity behaviors and reduce body mass index among minority children: A parallel-group, randomized control trial. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 50(6) 727-737.

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